SME TART UP A Tech Runway At Florida Atlantic University Is A Hotbed Of Innovation
JOHN BLOSSER PHOTOGRAPHY BY
ny separation between academic innovation and business commercialization is fast disappearing – as evidenced by a three-year-old Boca Raton project that draws campus and corporate headquarters closer together than ever before. Florida Atlantic University’s Tech Runway, a publicprivate initiative, already has been a powerful positive influence in South Florida, launching 29 new start-up businesses, creating 239 jobs, generating $8.3 million in sales revenue and raising more than $19 million in start-up funding to help boost the local economy. In an annual competition, start-up companies vie for $25,000 grand prizes, free office space, mentoring programs and fundraising assistance for a year, giving inventors and innovators a better chance at seeing their ideas morph into profitable business realities. Rhys L. Williams, associate vice president for research and managing director of Tech Runway, calls the program’s converted warehouse headquarters a “hotbed of entrepreneurship.” This year, 21 companies emerged as winners and will receive the attendant perks. But the following three won grand prizes, and – mark our words – you’ll be hearing more from these ventures soon.
“There was a thought that you can’t do groundbreaking research on one hand and have your eye on commercialization on the other, but that’s a false choice. Often, the best groundbreaking research leads to the best groundbreaking products and services.” – Rhys L. Williams, associate vice president for research and managing director, FAU Tech Runway
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